The GC isn't a mental illness mechanic though - like, it shares some similarities but limit break is a stress track, not a 'this many ticks until a trigger'. There are mental illness mechanics, they aren't meant to be true to life though (for one thing, neither GC nor the mental illness mechanics do the randomness well, there's no 'welp, your brain did a thing so today is fucked' straight off the bat). Discussing it in the rubric of mental illness is unhelpful because all the limit breaks are dumb ass things people do, not things confined to those of us with mental interestingness. You can read it as a way of playing it out, but it fits awkwardly because it isn't designed to fit that, and the game isn't about that either.
There's also the fact that I, personally, resent mental illness narratives that are all about the 'light at the end of the tunnel'. There is none for me, this is just what my brain is. I've learned to cope, I'll get better coping mechanisms as time goes on, but having 'better' as a goal is somewhat cruel in my circumstance. That doesn't mean there should be no resolution/healing mechanic in a game, it just means I think it doesn't apply to me. I dislike it as an overarching narrative as well, politically and emotionally. That's okay!
I've never called it a pinnacle of storytelling or whatever, it's just a fun way for me to mechanically track something i would be doing anyway.
Originally posted by Solar
The rule zero fallacy is a thing. I could re-write any system in the book if I cared to do so, but I find most of them to be fine. The GC is a suitable objectionable element to the game that I feel like having a go at it and saying "well you can just take it out" doesn't actually justify the existence of that game element at all. And as for playing all of those other characters; I don't want to play any of those, I want to play a Solar because they are the default mode of play and the most supported as well. The rules for most of those don't even exist and honestly most of them don't need to be PC options either.
Sure, the GC is sticking around. But the game changes based on the fanbase and such. I voice my opinion regularly and openly in an attempt to try and move the game in the direction I like, and also for the same reason we all do; we like talking about the game and it's positives and negatives. If you don't like my opinion and are tired of me voicing it, well, I'm not really sure there's anything I can tell you which you'll like in response to that.
Not Rule Zero, for what that's worth. Orichalcum Rule and it is absolutely something John and Holden live by
in their play, for what that's worth as well.
The GC makes sense to me on various levels, even though I have Very Serious Mental Interesting-ness of my own that impacts every game I play. It makes sense in terms of codifying a kind of mental stress track that harks back to a whole lot of heroic myth (not just Hercules and that level, but Jesus and a whole bunch of saints, and even our contemporary heroes like Bob Ross, Mr Rogers, people like that). It makes sense to have it trigger at a dramatic time - I don't know about you but my meltdowns don't wait until I have a moment of peace, don't come roaring out when I'm stress free and living kindly, they come on when everything is already awful and hard and won't stop to let me breathe (aka Christmas) (pretty much every fucking year oh lord). It makes much more sense to tie it to a way of living and to the situation rather than just 'you react like this every time'. I like it narratively as well, so it fits for me and if everyone agrees it's usually in play at my table.
If it doesn't fit for you, don't use it. Mechanically that isn't a problem. Narratively you might need to finesse some First Age stuff to explain the depths of decadence, but again, your table, you can just handwave it. I personally don't want to play a game with any of the sex charms, or the Lover, or any themes like that. So I don't, and handwave things away. Some games won't suit me, which is okay, a lot will, so I'll play them and wish the others well.
That said, I think a lot of GC stuff also comes down to trust in your table. I trust that my ST and I can walk the line of tragedy together - he is very good like that. There are others I've played with who left me with what Holden has referred to as PTSD, and a chargen philosophy like I'm prepping to go to prison. No game, no ruleset, no mechanic fixed any problem that started because someone at the table was an asshole. They don't need a GC (or whatever your dislike is) to put 'magic influence #3' on your character, or mind control, or raise the difficulty until you botch, or just return to that kind of roleplay like a dog to vomit - they'll do it no matter what. Twelve months out from my last game with them and I'm only just touching, lightly, on a few themes and tropes they'd soured me on. And that's with my whole group effectively cheering me on and supporting me. If the GC was involved with that, then I wouldn't be playing a game with it in.
For me the GC expands and mechanises something that I would usually play, and randomises it a little. For others it's either an irritant, or worse. Not using it is a great option for you and is a perfectly great way of playing Exalted.
Um, just in case it wasn't clear, any matriarchy I have envision is indeed sexist (hence matriarchy) AND in the case of the Realm, pretty fucking dystopic what with the religious hegemony, strict classism, slavery and so on.
I wasn't positing anything like a utopia or gender-neutral society.
Originally posted by Segev
Excellent examples. Given the "women are paid 70% of what men are" comments, what do you think the source of that is and what would cause it in the inverted society?
Remember that merely "I don't think she's worth as much" is enough, when anybody who can find this trend can offer 80% of what men typically get paid, only interview women, have them boggle at the more-than-10% raise, and still have 20% lower labor costs than their competitors. Heck, all it would take is a woman starting the business, if the contention is that men are inherently and inescapably sexist.
Hm. Small problem with your inversion in the example: what happens if Jack goes home to take care of the kids because he's fully doing a reverse of Judith's situation wrt from the patrialrchal society? The only thing that is unquestionably biologically related is Judith's 2-year gaps. And nothing STOPS Jack from taking a two-year gap to raise the toddlers after Judith goes back to work, if that "looks good" on a resume in the matriarchal society.
A: the research has been done about the source of the wage gap and I don't wanna rehash it because I'm not here as Lucy an Academic, I'm here as Lucy the Writer, and I'm on holidays man, I don't want to do homework. I assign the homework dammit.
The problem is even thinking 'inversion' because it isn't. Judith still stays home and that staying home is valued as both a contribution to society (given the significance of emotional, social, intellectual and mental development in the early years) and as an exercise in management and training. Jack doesn't 'get' to stay home - I mean, he might, but that's a social hit to him and his partner. Sure Jack might want that to look good on his resume, but much like women going back to work 'early' after birth, there is a serious hit to social capital, on top of internalised bullshit. What stops Jack from doing that is the same thing that stops men from doing the same amount of childcare/housework their female partners do in our society - ingrained sexism.
Well, this got repetitive didn't it?
Regardless though, from a creative perspective, if all you look at is quantitative "well women CAN get into power but don't therefore to fix it we need more women in power" is how you, in terms of fictional universes, get matriarchal matrilineal societies with poorly thought out birth/childrearing rituals, no change in power structures, and things stop making much sense because the creators duplicate power structures without investigating the underlying aspects of it.
So, to hie on back to the tedious example of women's 'choices' being why they are not in powerful corporate positions, a real life example is:
"Well, Jack has had a solid work history with no time away from his projects, went to a great school, I know his dad and he's just a chip off the old block. Good, well-rounded bloke that one. I've seen him at his desk til 9 at night, good worker."
"Well, Judith has these two year long breaks in her work history and came back part-time, she doesn't seem all that dedicated really, missing some attributes. I never see her here after 5."
(Jack has a partner at home to look after the kids, Judith has a partner who does not, children still need to be taken care of and the bodily aspect of having the kid is hers to bear alone, thus she has breaks in her work history that are read as 'lack of dedication' including having to be there are 5:30 for pick up or be charged by the minute)
An example in a matriarchy would be:
"Well, Jack has had no time away from employment, and never seems to get his work done before sundown. I can't imagine he has the breadth of knowledge and experience we need."
"Well, Judith has got a varied employment history, and she obviously has significant experience at a range of things. She gets her work done in a timely manner, and has a breadth of experience we can leverage."
(Jack has had to work because he has been excluded from the social aspects of his career, while Judith has had time away from paid employment in order to expand her horizons, and child-rearing is considered contextually important for work)
Like everything with people, shit varies. But the underlying power structure of a matriarchy is not one that replicates our own just with women on top instead of men, because that's daft and doesn't really work - it's a reversion of the power structure that prioritises and respects women and their 'choices' more than men.
This is totally one of the things we've all discussed at length. In my day job I'm an academic specialising in gender and literature, in my day to day life I am a butch looking heterosexually married lady, so gendered language is my wheelhouse, and something of a hill to die on occasionally.
Effectively it comes down to a few things - one is the inspirational terms, as in Romance of the Three Kingdoms and other ur-texts that have direct lines into Exalted. One is cultural bias, in that English not only has gendered terms like Prince vs Princess, but very very loaded psychological spaces they inhabit. Also that we all have internal bias, evident in the ways that, for example, The Realm is supposed to be a matriarchy but there is STILL a preponderance of male NPCs and men in positions of power that simply replicates our own cultural norms.
The one I struggled with the most though, was the way culturally The Realm is a matriarchal dystopia, but it is impossible to simply genderflip terms because we're all still culturally loaded with English and Western cultural contexts, and because that still simply reinscribes the masculine bias, just putting a layer of 'woman' over the top. That's the hardest because regardless of what you need for cultural and in-universe consistency, this is still a game being played in a male-dominated environment (although Exalted has a really really solid core of women who fucking love the game) with all that entails, including the way enforcing female-gendered honorifics onto male PCs is something that generally has negative connotations.
(Even though being a Princess was hard fucking work, yo, and a lot more likely to kill you because yay childbirth/bartered off to enemies/fashion is deadly, and you still needed to be politically astute and aware and be able to run a house/county/country)
Balancing the in-universe aspects of the game and writing with the existing culture of the audience is difficult, basically.
(FWIW we did this brainstorming, have adjusted some of the language, but we are sticking with Prince as a gender-neutral term)
As a player I am pretty much NO TOUCHY (there's a combination of reasons/rationales there but suffice to say, that's my natural state, my group is okay with it*). I am VERY no touchy about heterosexual romance/sex involving my character (my current main game has a possible, very slow burn queer romance going but we've been playing for months and I think the characters involved have touched like twice?).
As a reader/writer, shit yeah there are so many ways to do seduction without rape, Jesus, how is this even a question?
I think the main reason most male seducer characters are seen as rapey is because that's how they've been written throughout the centuries of oppression, basically. Like, if you read Casanova's diaries (or Don Juan's, whoever it was since I've blocked it out of my fucking mind) then that dude raped SO many women and it's vile. So vile. But that's a cultural trope. Same with Pepe Le Pew, or the 'sidekick who is totes charming and hits on women all the time' (see: Jason in the Anita Blake books, Ivan in the Vorkosigan series) where the 'hits on' is 'gropes nonconsensually and makes lewd remarks at and pressures women into sex because *he* knows they secretly want it). These characters are kinda nasty and boring and stupid. You wanna play a seducer who is a dude who seduces women? Play a kind guy, play the guy who comforts small children and cooks good food and comforts characters and protects them and is smart enough to work out what the woman he wants actually desires*. Actually play Shen, but that's probably because I love his character portrait and nerds with beards are my jam...
Female seducers follow the same lines really. A good seductive character doesn't assume their target is a fuckwit with hormones for brains. They connect, however briefly and superficially, with the person they wanna fuck. It's like camping, leave them in better shape than you found them. If your seducer works only because 'well of course men wanna fuck pretty ladies' then she's a failure on a creative front, and boring to boot (not to mention offensive because men do have feelings!).
Seducers need to have an internal motivation for wanting to fuck as well - that's where it can get tricky, and interesting, in terms of 'my motivation for finding a willing lass to bed in every town is that I cannot sleep alone' leads naturally to 'well, what happens when they don't want to?'. That was literally the character hook for a seducer character in a romance I read once, btw. 'I wanna nail chicks' is, well, kinda boring. Same with 'my self esteem demands worship' because being ploughed probably doesn't actually fill that need. 'This is a convenient way to further my espionage' is just begging the ST for your enemies to be an assortment of asexuals, people with very definite fetishes, and physically incapable. Work your own angles first, basically.
Now, player motivation has to come into it too. Playing a seducer because you wanna play out that stuff? All well and good but get consent, y'know? Don't drag people into your kinks, it's poor form and gross. Playing a seducer because you wanna combo it with an MA and a character concept? You still need to make sure everyone is on board. I really, REALLY, dislike playing in a group with that kind of character. My hackles rise and I have no fun. It just doesn't work for me to sit there and be part of that game. So I have issues when fellow players run a Lothario, and the ST allows it, then first session I get to sit around with my skin crawling while they try bang the waitstaff. It's not a concern now, but it has been, and tanked my old group. Playing that because you have a psychological niche you wanna scratch? Be super super careful, please. Please. You're involving other people in your brain-things and that can go badly.
Mostly though, shit yeah seducers can be valid and amazing concepts and characters that don't rape people, invalidate other people's sexualities, or bore the shit out of everyone at the table.
* I was talking about the Red Rule with John and Holden once, and the thing is, it seems set up to protect people like me, y'know? And it is, and does, but John pointed out it's also there for the people who want to play out sex, seduction, rape, and things like that in game as well. They aren't bad people, they aren't gross or assholes (unless they're doing it against the will of the people involved, obvs), and the Red Rule protects them too. Which was interesting to me, and makes me think of the Red Rule as less about me, and my issues, and more like the (eponymous) safeword structure in BDSM - it's there to give a structure for consent when you are playing at the edges of it. It makes even more sense in that context than for tables where 'wait, what?' is the response to aggressive use of sex charms. Because the Red Rule isn't 'bad person, no play for you' it's 'stop this bit of play right now'.
**see: a library would, in my single days, have been a GREAT place to pick me up at so long as I wasn't actually working and you weren't a douchey creep leering at me and suddenly proposing sex. Because that wouldn't work at a club anyway, at least in a library I can assume you might share some interests).
Sounds fucking amazing to be honest. My twist on the Long Con would be something like Laverna taking the mantle/appearance of someone else, and the Exigent fucking over someone else again, all for the glorification of Laverna in some fashion.
Originally posted by BrilliantRain
....Can we read that fanfic?
Sure. It is fanfic, not actual, y'know, work
so be warned...
Adorei lingered, cold within the tomb. Memories were scant comfort without the warmth of a hand upon her hilt or the slick feel of blood along her blade. They were enough but only barely and when the tomb broke and the sun hit the shine of her, the joy rose and roared again. The hand of the Lawgiver closing over her was almost too much. In that moment it was like her beloved had come to life again, the way she had under the clever hands of Auravash, time and time again. With the thoughts of that sacrifice she rose, screaming pleasure into the sunlight through the Chosen who had wrapped their fingers around her hilt.
In the dark she had begun to wonder if sacrifice had the same meaning if you kept spiralling down into it. The strips of poetry winding their way through the flames into the ash and the very aether and the essence of her being. The purity of Verilion's love for her, even with Ashala in his heart, drawing her back into the orichalcum that was her own and only self.
Those thoughts dropped away when Teeth of the Wind drew her in righteous anger the very first time. The Solar was like ice, full of a cold kind of fury so unlike Auravash that Adorei recoiled at first. Then the heat of battle was upon them both and she bit deep into their enemy. Her joy flowed too, into Teeth of the Wind's very soul, and the first of the cracks was made in the legendary fortress around the Lawgiver's heart.
My last 'spider in my hair' story involved my six year old daughter sighing patiently while I flailed wildly at the web, checking my hair for me, then making up a 'soothing' story about how it got scared away by my blue hair being too much like water, all while my partner (upstairs, still in the house) simply texted "LOL" at me.
I feel I am raising her well.
Originally posted by Mushroom King
That's cool. What does a Dragon King's accent sound like? I'm thinking either British or Bostonian, but I've been wrong before.
Aussie. Holden's impersonation of me is humiliatingly hilarious. I've made him promise that next podcast he'll somehow work it into one of his answers.
I suspect they keep me around for my accent, horror stories about spiders in my hair, and the fact that I once wrote Adorei fanfic that made John say 'oh god that is so creepy'. So I got to write a few Great Houses, some cultural DB stuff, and a tiny slice of setting info because I begged and pleaded to be allowed to since I fell in love with the synopsis of it.
(I play games with Holden and John, and they're two of my favourite people in the world, and when they found out I write, got me to try out for the job and voila, now I write rpgs under one of my many many many pseudonyms)
Originally posted by danelsan
Assuming it is ok to throw some speculation...There are two instances of "Lucy" in the backer Corebook pdf. One is just a name in the list of backers, but the other one is among the playtesters. So, Lucy Baker upgraded to writer?
Alternatively, it is forum user Sacheverell (also known as SachKreiosLucy) and his work on both books is about demonology and sex!
Generally, given that I'm working under a pseudonym, I'd prefer no speculation. Also because of that last one, your research privileges should be revoked.
If I end up a Dragon King, with the Hamster and the Puppy, I'll be happy enough. Thanks for the welcome!
Toooooooooooootally not a Dragon King. Totally.
(to answer the question though, I'm Lucy Darling! I'm not entirely sure what else to add though...)
(still not a Dragon King, I promise)
Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey
Oh! Good to hear! I thought John decided to take over that responsibility.
I'm working on both What Fire Has Wrought
and The Realm
and yeah, redlining and revisioning is still ongoing, just around the needs of the core and so on.